AT&T has joined Disney and Nestle SA in pulling advertisements from YouTube over a "soft-core pedophilia ring" which allowed pedophiles to identify videos of young girls engaging in sexually suggestive activities.
"Until Google can protect our brand from offensive content of any kind, we are removing all advertising from YouTube," said AT&T in a statement emailed to Bloomberg.
Originally discovered in 2016 by YouTuber "reallygraceful" in a now-unavailable video - for which she was subject to MSM hit pieces (such as this one by the BBC's Mike Wendling), blogger Matt Wilson revived the controversy in a 20-minute video published Sunday, which has received over 2 million views.
Wilson describes how comments on YouTube were being used to identify certain videos in which young girls can be seen participating in sexually suggestive behavior - such as posing in front of mirrors and doing gymnastics and "yoga stretching." If a user clicked on one of the videos, YouTube algorithms then suggested similar 'pedo-centric' material.
Wilson under attack
While Wilson has received overall praise for his video, he has received pushback from popular YouTuber "Keemstar," who has called him a fraud just trying to make a name for himself, according to the Daily Dot.
While Keemstar doesn't condone the pedo-centric videos, he has taken issue with Wilson's call for a platform-wide advertising ban, which may lead to another "adpocalypse."
In 2017, some content creators lost up to 80% of their revenue due to upset advertisers pulling their campaigns which were featured in videos that promoted derogatory content.
The “adpocalypse” started not with a bang, but with Wall Street Journal reports in March of YouTube users posting hate speech and racist content—and the advertising that was automatically attached to that content. Advertisers quickly pulled out, and some creators lost up to 80 percent of their daily income.
One of the biggest hits came to Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, known as PewDiePie, who lost a Disney contract after WSJ exposed Kjellberg’s videos with Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic jokes. -Daily Dot
Keemstar "exposed" Watson in a twitter video, claiming that while bringing the pedophilia ring to light was good, "then he tried to ruin all of the YouTubers’ livelihoods by getting the new fans he got from this campaign to spam advertisers and pretty much try to start the next adpocalypse."
Watson can also be seen in a video propositioning a woman to shoot a porn.
He’s not who he says he is!!! pic.twitter.com/vajGYaNGVE— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) February 19, 2019
"He keeps saying YouTube is doing nothing. Which is a complete lie," says Keemstar.
Of note, YouTube says it has taken action, telling Bloomberg in an email: "Any content --including comments -- that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments."
YouTube told the Daily Dot that it has disabled comments on tens of millions of videos that include minors, terminated 400 channels and reported some users to authorities.
Watson was criticized by others in response to Keemstar's tweet:
He’s purposely trying to usher in another Adpocalypse...— Roberto Blake #AWESOMESQUAD (@robertoblake) February 20, 2019
YouTube has problems, fixing them doesn’t mean you go telling people to call up advertisers...
This isn’t some heroic crusade, it’s a vendetta...
There won’t be a hole deep enough for you to hide in when this is through. Pedophiles are disgusting and little kids shouldn’t be uploading videos to YouTube. YouTube needs to do a better job at this shit. But you spreading your fecal matter ideas to ad companies?— Rob Gavagan (@RobGavagan) February 20, 2019
As the Daily Dot points out, however, Watson also has his defenders.
They have known about the problem for a long time and have failed to implement effective solutions to keep kids safe. If it wasn't Matt it would be someone else pushing this. Yet, everyone keeps attacking his character. YouTube needs to fix this and stop chasing its tail. 2/2— Daniel James (@dulhunty) February 21, 2019